It's the first time Te Pūtahitanga has held their symposium in the Marlborough area, to commemorate and celebrate Māori success through Whānau Ora.

Dame Tariana Turia, the mother of Whānau Ora was there to enhance the gathering.

“We want to be successful; we want to be in charge of our own lives. And I think the state finds it really difficult to get out of the way. You know, they feel as though they have to hold our hands, they feel as though they need to be there. But in actual fact, trust us, we know best.”

Turia was invited to last night’s event with Barack Obama, but the former Māori co-leader politely declined.

She opted instead to attend the annual symposium where stories of success were shared.   

“Well, I did get an invitation to go to ex-President Obama's dinner. I was amazed to be invited to be honest. But, would that impact on our people's lives? No.”

Turia says the symposium was about sharing results people have had with Whānau Ora to inspire others to develop and achieve.

“The concept of skills and capacity building, that is enormous. We have an investment pipeline which is all around entrepreneurial innovation, inspiration and that's really saying 'your tūpuna believed in you and we want to back you too.”

And she also challenged the government to lend more support to the cause.

“They have never ever resourced Whānau Ora in the way that they should have. When I think about the billions, and I mean the billions of dollars that is being wasted on us for us and by others, that's not good for us. We know a review is going on by the government but we always need to refresh and revitalise the goals and see if we're meeting the needs of whānau as our most important aspiration.”

The symposium in Blenheim will close today.